Dementia: Certifying Practitioners for Better Patient Care

Today, more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). By 2050, the number is projected to nearly triple. In the wake of an ADRD epidemic, the need to ensure that caregivers are well trained in delivering highly proficient and abundantly sensitive direct care and support is critical.

In 2003, two innovators in dementia care, Sandra Stimson and Lynn Biot-Gordon, founded an organization devoted to promoting standards of excellence in ADRD education. Called the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP), this group offers a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) program to professionals and other caregivers who provide services to ADRD clients.

Bridging the Gap

“Currently, there are no national standards for dementia education, and regulations vary widely from state to state,” says Stimson, NCCDP’s chief executive officer. “The CDP program helps bridge the gap, providing best practices in caring for people who suffer from this disease. It’s designed for anyone who works with ADRD clients in a health care, home, or community setting – from nurses and home health aides to administrators, social workers, rehabilitation professionals, activity directors, dementia unit managers, and first responders.”

For more information on qualifications for CDP, visit

Building Knowledge and Skills

Health care practitioners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond have a prime opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills in ADRD care at an upcoming NCCDP-sponsored Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care seminar. The day-long training will be held Friday, October 12, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the training room at 1500 Waters Ridge Dr. in Lewisville. The seminar fee is $175. Activity professionals, administrators, and social workers will receive seven Continuing Education Units for course completion.

Susan McKinney, CDP, CADDCT (certified Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care trainer), certified therapeutic recreation specialist, and vice president of operations at Lifetime Wellness, will teach the course. Lifetime Wellness is a leading provider of person-centered wellness, life enrichment, and recreational programming to senior living communities throughout Texas and Oklahoma. The company offers an array of nonpharmacological approaches to caring for people living with ADRD.

Beginning Down the Path to CDP Certification

“The Lewisville training is a required ‘live’ seminar for those who are pursuing a certification and who qualify as being a certified dementia practitioner,” Stimson says.  “The CDP designation means you have the knowledge base and skill set to provide the best quality of care to those living with ADRD. The seminar is appropriate also for anyone who wants to gain valuable information on ADRD care.

“Along with learning in a face-to-face, interactive classroom environment, participants will receive a comprehensive notebook of course contents. They will also receive a certified dementia practitioner application. After completing the seminar, they have 30 days to submit their application to NCCDP for consideration for Certified Dementia Practioner certification.”

Blending a Full Range of Topics

As is true of all NCCDP training programs, the Lewisville seminar curriculum is extensive. It includes a wide range of topics, from diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment to behavioral issues, personal care needs, sexuality, staff and family support, and end-of-life issues.

“When practitioners know better, they will do better,” Stimson says. “Our goal is to set the ‘Gold Standard’ in dementia education and certification, going above and beyond the minimum state requirements. We seek to inspire dedication in serving ADRD clients with unwavering competency – and abiding compassion.”


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